Ryszard Kapuscinski: The Other

There is the romantic in me who would like to write an ode of admiration to this exceptional journalist for tackling a most pertinent matter and there is also the dormant journalist tempted to fangirl. However, the teacher of little children prevailed and simplified the lessons instead.

Who is my “Other”?

Those who do not hold the same beliefs. The most obvious right now are those who do not share the same political views.

How should we relate to Others?

There seems to be three approaches: War, isolation, and a third one learned through trade routes like the Silk Road — cooperation.

Why not war?

“It is hard to justify wars; I think everyone loses them, because it is a defeat for the human being. It exposes his inability to come to terms, to empathize with the Other, to be kind and reasonable…”

Why not isolation?

“The idea that prompted man to build great walls and vast moats, to surround himself with them and isolate himself from others, has in modern times been given the name of the doctrine of apartheid.”

What is the main content of the encounter with the Other?

Dialogue. Dialogical openness, perspective, and awareness. “The will to become acquainted.”

What should I equip myself with?

“…it is so important to have one’s own distinct identity, a sense of its strength, value and maturity. Only then can a man boldly confront another culture. Otherwise he will lurk in his hiding place, fearfully isolating himself from others.”

Why should we cooperate and why should we relate to the Other?

Because building bridges of understanding with Others “is not just an ethical duty but also an urgent task for our time in a world where everything is so fragile and where there is so much demagogy, disorientation, fanaticism and bad will.”

“The Self not only has to relate to the Other, but must assume responsibility for him and be prepared to bear the consequences for such a decision, such an attitude. Is there a Christian act of sacrifice in this? Yes — of sacrifice, renunciation and humility.”